Reflections

Movie Dreams…

Rough night last night with movie dreams. Dramatic scenes, like out takes, removed from context, but clear nonetheless…

With sound tracks playing in the background. Snippets of songs on endless repeat…

A happy scene living with my daughter, sitting on the couch with a couple of cats and the dog asleep at my feet. The kids are spiraling out of control, and with a quiet voice, I speak their names. “Can you feel those waves of irritation coming from your mom?,” I ask. They both nod. “That means she’s had enough. For real. Settle down now…” And little one comes to sit beside me.

…our house. It’s a very, very fine house…”

Suddenly my daughter explodes! Ranting about how I stole her animals, and now I’m stealing her kids away from her! And after all she does to take care of and protect them…

I don’t know what to say, knowing no words can heal that self-inflicted pain…

***

I’m at work, encouraging my replacement to look at boxes and paperwork to try and get a sense of what’s ahead of us. “You’re going to have to learn how to prioritize,” I tell her. But she is dawdling and slow to pick things up…

“We have to step this up!,” I snap. “I’m not going to be here to hold your hand much longer, you know!”

“…turning the inside out…”

***

And here, in the waking world, things are stranger still…

Standing outside in a misty rain, watching the streams of water fall in the light from the deck spotlight. All around me the world is wet. Except me and my cat. Holding my hand out in the stream, I feel no water, though I can still see it falling. But I am not even damp, nor is my cigarette…

***

Later, and all is quiet outside. Too quiet. It’s eerie. No traffic, no factory sounds, no slamming doors. Nothing. Not even the bats are flying tonight. What is going on?

And I realize that every time I come downstairs, nausea nearly overwhelms me. Along with that sense of everything being… just totally wrong

***

Co-workers are reporting strange dreams to me. Significant images they feel compelled to share. White horses rearing in the clouds… A tiny car with removable covers on the windows. And my friend who is driving must keep shifting perspective from inside to outside the car, changing window covers, seeking the best combination that will allow her to see properly…

…talk to me. I can’t seem to speak now… talk to me… the words won’t come out right… what are you thinking?… sometimes I wonder… what are you feeling?… where do we go from here?”

And another reporting anxiety. “You know, the kind that precedes a full on panic attack.” And I can feel it all around him like a dark cloud, but none of it infects me…

***

And every time I touch my phone, my remote, or any electronic device, I can feel the electricity coursing through me. Tingling. Numbing. Uncomfortable. I must put it down…

***

Rough energy going on with movie dreams and reality. Dramatic scenes, like out takes, removed from context, but clear nonetheless…

“the ringing of the division bell had begun…”

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Reflections, Visions

Off the Rails…

I close my eyes and chaos reigns. Objects, like thoughts, flying in all directions at once. Little spirals of change and corruption, like dust devils, spinning out of control, starting with me and sliding away.

And I am also moving, aboard my little animated train. Not afraid, not anxious at all. “Just hold on, Lisa,” I tell myself. “This, too, shall pass.”

So I focus in more deeply on the swirling thoughts and objects, seeking to identify as many as possible before they are gone. But they are fast as pixies and just as sly, layering over one another before any become clear.

Just glimpses of faces. And places. Of movement and stillness. Of joy and sorrow, anger and forgiveness. My train has become a roller coaster ride… But the images are relentless, flying around, now with the weight of cars behind them. Each significant enough to warrant recognition, but moving away more quickly than my conscious mind can grasp.

I withdraw my focus, pulling back, to better see the chaos from a distance. And there goes my train car, chugging along, but oddly having no track to follow. And all about, strewn in my wake, a litter of vehicles tossed and tumbled, as though a great wind just juggled them all…

I smile. No track means no one is directing this trip, controlling where it goes. I am free of normal time and space, at least for a little while. And the tumbled tokens in my wake are proof that all of it is real, even if I haven’t figured that part out yet…

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Conversations

A Conversation With THE Other About… Failure

Her eyebrows lifted in genuine surprise. “Failure?!… Hmm, not what I expected to hear at all! Whose failure?,” she thought to ask. “Who failed at doing what?”

I laughed out loud, grateful to be alone in my room for this conversation. “Why my failure, of course!,” I told her. “My failure at living my life, practicing what I’ve been taught… My decision to just give up!”

Lea sat forward on her couch, focus intensifying without any other obvious sign. “Explain,” she demanded.

I hesitated, gathering my thoughts close to me, trying to impose some sense of order on the chaos within my mind. Taking a deep, fortifying breath, I attempted to comply…

“All my life I’ve been taught to walk between worlds, to choose my own reality. Through focus, perception, imagination and will, I can be anywhere. Any time…. Anyone…

“I know this!,” I added, frustration creeping in. “Yet, in spite of what I know, I remain here! In this dying world, this pointless race. I cannot escape, no matter how I try! I cannot change anything of consequence for myself!…”

Sitting back, a wry grin upon her face, Lea nodded. “So, we’re back to this again, are we?”

“No!!,” I snapped, involuntarily. “Do not mock me, or belittle what I say! Because this is a whole new level of enough!”

Lifting one eyebrow in silence, she encouraged me to continue…

“Even my dreams are mocking me lately. Tests and challenges, administered and passed. Pathways revealed between dimensions that are subsequently travelled. Progress made, with or without significant struggle. And then I wake. Quite suddenly. To find myself here again! Nothing has changed!! And if it has, it’s only gotten worse!…

“Then the messages start to arrive in my waking world, repetitive and encouraging. Telling me that all is well, that all that I’ve been working toward, and for, is just about to break in my favor. Finally!…

“Only, it doesn’t happen. At least not noticeably. At least not for me…”

“So… Either everything I’ve been taught, everything I believe, is a lie,” I conclude. “Or I am just incompetent in the extreme.”

Nodding, Lea responds quite seriously. “So, you’ve chosen to believe the first – that it’s all a lie. I guess that makes sense. Certainly is easier to accept, isn’t it?”

“Still, I’m curious,” she continued. “Why, exactly, would that be? Why is it easier to accept that your lifelong curriculum has been faulty rather than you have failed to apply it properly?”

“Less disappointing,” I answered quickly. “To think I’ve been misled puts less pressure on me.”

“But it also prevents any remedy,” she pointed out, quite ruthlessly. “If it were you at fault, you might still learn differently. But if your basic premises are false, there is no chance to succeed.”

“True,” I admit quietly. “But that’s the point, isn’t it?… I’m tired of trying and failing consistently. I just want to be done with all of it!”

“Cop out, Lisa,” she snapped. “And not worthy of you! Just when I was starting to respect who you were becoming…” Contempt dripped from every word.

“It won’t work this time, Lea,” I pointed out quite placidly. “I don’t really care anymore what you might think of me…”

“Fine!,” she noted unemotionally. “Then tell me, just for argument’s sake, why you think you failed so miserably?”

“Easy,” I answered. “It’s my body.”

She laughed outright, taken by surprise. “Oh please do explain this theory to me…”

“It’s not theory, Lea; it’s fact.” I remained calm and focused as I explained. “All the traveling I have done, per your and others’ teachings, has involved projecting my mind, my spirit, my perspective into another space or time. Not exactly hard to do. And while my experiences in those other places have contributed to creating who I am, influencing my thoughts, moods, interactions and expectations, they are always limited by my body…

“Because any disturbance to my body will snap me back into my own time and space, whether I wish to return or not. It’s like an anchor, dragging me down, time and time again. There is no escaping it! Ever! Until, or unless, I can find a way to cross those dimensional barriers with my body as well as my mind, I will never be free.”

“And frankly,” I smirked, “I have no reason to want to take it with me. This body is broken. It may be my fault, having treated it thoughtlessly and recklessly, but it does not serve me well now. So, even if I could figure out how to travel with it, I wouldn’t bother to try. What would be the point? I can’t trust it to perform the most basic of actions anymore, nor can I escape the constant pain of being in it…

“Therefore,” I concluded smugly, “my work here is done. I’m playing the waiting game until I can be gone…”

Lea sat back to contemplate what I’d said, while I left to get something to eat… When I returned, she jumped in, as though the conversation had never stalled…

“But you’re forgetting something important,” she stated with her characteristic certainty. “Reality, after all, is just an illusion.”

“Not true,” I answered immediately, “as my body proves. Because no matter what reality I’m in, it can drag me back here again. Therefore, my body exists in some real time or space, giving its needs total primacy.”

Lea shook her head, denying me. But she did not speak.

“Prove to me otherwise, Lea,” I implored her. “Show up in my life for real. Bring your body if you can. Walk up and talk to me, face to face…

“Until you can do that, or unless I should say, we have nothing more to discuss. For you and I will both remain trapped exactly where and when we are. And all this talk about traveling between worlds will take on the aura of pure fantasy, as it properly should. Because so long as our bodies anchor us, neither one will ever be truly free…

“That’s the facts, Lea,” I concluded, sadly. “Accept, as I have, and move on, or prove me wrong definitively. If you do that, I will gladly adopt the mantle of student once more. If you can’t, I prefer to surrender gracefully…”

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Reflections

Charlie Lucky…

Many years ago (back in the mid-90’s) I lived in an apartment with my husband and daughter. It was located in a small village set neatly in the middle of farm country. I loved the pastoral setting, the slow, diligent pace of country folk, and the peace of rural living. It was a time of great creativity for me, during which most of my current belief systems were discovered and explored, as well as the time when all of the full length books I’ve written (published or not) were authored. It was, in essence, the time that I evolved into me…

I have since refined that sense of self, of course, expanding my understanding and scope, while simultaneously letting go of all that does not fit anymore. But it was during that crucial time in my life that I learned to re-label my delusions (hallucinations?) as visions, that I gave myself permission to speak my “truth” rather than hide it, that I first started wrestling with Time and time magic. That I dedicated all of my resources toward understanding the “true” nature of reality…

And it was then that I first met Charlie Lucky. He was both teacher and test for me. He brought both unbelievable joy and unfathomable sorrow. He was every contradiction I’ve ever encountered, and yet he was as stable a presence as I’ve ever met. He opened my eyes to so many possibilities I might not have had the courage to consider on my own. And he shattered my heart when he left me. I learned what real heartache felt like. I learned I could survive it. But I could never close my heart to love again. No matter how much it hurt, I would never again be able to close off that secret inner place, to protect myself by hiding behind walls and masks, to block what might not feel right…

Without my realizing it, Charlie Lucky had cracked open my inner core and left it exposed to the world. Shielding techniques would no longer serve me. And so, the empath that I am today was forged, and would only progress from there…

Charlie Lucky was a cat…

To be fair, he was a very special cat, but he was still a cat. When I first met Charlie Lucky he was a ghost cat, a blurry white shape that crossed my peripheral vision from time to time. I wasn’t the only one to “see” him, thank goodness, which is one of the reasons I started to suspect that not all my delusions were false. His presence visited our apartment quite often, seen by both family members and guests who would often remark, “I didn’t know you had a white cat!”

To which we could only respond, “we don’t.”

Then one day I opened the back door to get something, and there he was. Mostly white with gray around both ears, and a fluffy gray tail stuck on his butt that appeared to be stolen from some other cat, for he was neither fluffy nor gray as a rule. But what really stood out was the large gray diamond on either side which marked him as both recognizable and unique.

When I opened the door that day, he was just laying there in that enclosed space (we never knew how he got in), looking sleepy eyed and comfortable, as though he’d always been. He rose when he saw me, stretched lazily, walked the few steps to the door, then sat and meowed softly, greeting me. I was instantly in love! I asked him, “are you waiting for an invitation, or do you need something else?”

He just stared at me, willing me to do something.

I stepped aside, spread my arm in welcome, and said, “come on in if you like. Of course you are welcome here.”

He blinked slowly at me, then pranced into the apartment as if he owned it…

Charlie was unique in many ways that we would discover in the short time we knew him. For example, he never required proper transitioning or introduction to our other cats; they accepted him without rancor, jealousy, or need to test him for his rank in the hierarchy. Charlie Lucky was in his own world mostly, and the other cats greeted him as a long lost friend, instantly cuddling with and grooming him. It was odd. But then, everything about Charlie was odd… Wonderfully, memorably, heartwarmingly (and wrenchingly) odd…

We soon discovered that Charlie had been born with a congenital heart defect, and a very poor prognosis. The vet warned us he wouldn’t stay with us long. And while it might of been wise to withhold a bit in preparation for the inevitable, it turned out to be impossible. He was too lovable, and too loving and wise to ignore. In the end we had about three years together. Three years that would change my life. Three years during which ghost kitty was not to be seen. Three years when every flash of white seen from the corner of my eye transformed into warm, furry, purring joy…

And then he was gone…

And ghost kitty returned… Only this time we knew his name.

When I left my husband in 2000, I found leaving my cats behind the hardest. But they were a family unit, and I knew my husband would care for them. Leaving Charlie’s ghost behind was a whole different level of heartache for me. But I packed up my courage and set out to begin the next phase of my life, leaving behind the peace and pace of country living to embrace a whole new set of unknowns in an unforgiving city. It was necessary, but terrifying and exhilarating all at once. And when I would think back on those transformative years in the country, I would remember them fondly.

More recently I would view them with a sense of wonder and awe, as so many of the things I “discovered” back then began revealing themselves in real time and space; not only had I evolved my self in that country haven, but much had been revealed to me that only needed a proper context in time to become relevant. That time has come. The threads that caught my eye in the tapestry of reality are only just now becoming visible again to my naked eye. And it is both welcomed and resisted, all at the same time…

I have grown more stable in my sense of self over the intervening years, and less vulnerable to the influence of others’ points of view. I have also become more capable of embracing others more completely as they are, without unduly trying to influence them. I have learned to love more, to hate less, to hurt more and blame less. I have more compassion and less expectation for others. I own my space, real and imagined, and grant it all the same level of authority to change my point of view. I genuinely like me today, in spite of flaws, shortcomings, mistakes, failures and lost hopes. I accept me. And so I am in a much better frame of mind to accept you…

So why this long eulogy for a cat two decades dead? Good question…

I’ve had other cats since Charlie Lucky, cats I’ve raised from near-birth to death. And while my relationships with each were unique and special, none have ever had the same impact on me, save one perhaps. That would be Shilo, my all black current partner with whom I share much of the “connectedness” I felt with Charlie. It was also love at first sight when I met Shilo, and though it would be a year or so before we could be together (he belonged to someone else at the time), our relationship has shared much of the same magic. We are empathically bonded, responding to each others’ needs without speaking, sharing dreams, and growing old together.

Shilo often comes outside with me when I smoke, exploring the back yard, checking for scent markers to see who’s been by to visit, hanging out with me like a loyal hound. But he is a cat, so more accurate perhaps to think of him as a peer, a companion, a friend. Last night, late, I went out back, and he joined me as is our routine. He explored, while I looked around, both of us seeking first around the area of our shed, where many visitors appear. There was no one there last night, so he came up to sit calmly beside me, waiting as only cats can do.

Suddenly he panicked and raced for the back door! As is our way, I was reaching for the door to let him in before my conscious mind could even grasp the change. Once he was safe inside I caught my breath, and started looking around for what might have startled him. It was then I noticed the pool of white by the shed. I stared, knowing it hadn’t been there before, and trying to identify it. It was too big to be my possum friend, and too white to be our skunk. It wasn’t the all grey tabby or the orange and white tom cat that often visit. As I stared, the animal turned to look me squarely in the eyes.

Sleepy eyed and comfortable, there sat a mostly white cat, with grey around his ears, and a fluffy grey tail wrapped around his loaf-like body. Watching him, I would have sworn that he was home, perfectly content, like he had always lived in that exact spot. My mind immediately ran through a picture list of all the neighborhood cats I’ve seen over the 4+ years I’ve lived here, but I couldn’t recall ever encountering this cat before. Then I thought of Charlie Lucky…

I called out his name softly. “Charlie, is that you?”

Two slow blinks and nothing else…

I thought of approaching him, but I was afraid I’d scare him off. So I stared. And remembered. And felt. A familiar mixture of joy and sorrow washed through me. And then I left…

When I got upstairs, I instantly fell asleep with Shilo in my lap. And I dreamed…

I dreamed of traveling with a group of co-workers, all around the world. I don’t remember now what we were doing, but it was a purposeful tour. I remember packing for it and thinking I should grab one or two more things; nothing I strictly needed for the trip, but rather sentimental and irreplaceable. I chastised myself, not wanting to over pack, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wouldn’t be coming back. In the end I left them behind, focusing on the more immediate needs of what lay ahead rather than behind.

Months later, we returned to this house, our tour completed successfully. But I soon discovered it was infested with ants and other insects, and completely unlivable. I knew we could probably bring out what we’d brought back with us, but nothing else, and I was angry at myself for not having grabbed those two small things I’d wanted to bring. But it was too late… I left, single suitcase in hand, wondering where I should hole up while planning out the next phase of my existence…

Upon waking, my first thought was of Charlie Lucky. And as I write these words today I am sobbing as though my grief is new and raw still…

Was that Charlie who came to visit me last night? Why? And why now? For one who seems so comfortable in crossing that Rainbow Bridge, in both directions apparently, he could have come to me at any time since leaving that apartment in the country behind. But he never did. Until last night…

And to show up now, when my life seems to be transitioning into something I do not fully recognize, seems significant somehow. On the surface I expect change; I am, in fact, looking forward to it. However, there is within me an almost certainty that, in spite of appearances, that change is not what I anticipated. Something is off. Not wrong, just off. Different. Unexpected. Unknown…

And I am motivated to record it here. And so I have…

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Conversations, Reflections

A conversation with An’Other About…the Four of Cups?

Whas’sup?

I’m sorry… Did we have a meeting scheduled for today?

(Laughing…). Oh, do I need an appointment to drop in these days?

[A steady stare and nothing more…]

Feeling a little off?

Could that be why I’m here?

I don’t know. And honestly, I don’t know why you’d expect me to!

Umm… Hmmm… Avoiding the obvious. This can’t be a happy sign.

(Settling down on the edge of the bed…). Want to talk about it?

Nothing to talk about, really. Everything is progressing as planned… Mostly, anyway. At least they seem to be moving in the proper direction anyway…

But…?

[Chuckling softly…]. No “but’s”; I’m supposed to be working on eliminating those, remember?

Sometimes “but’s” are necessary. How else would you sit so comfortably? Or open and close doors?

[A half smile is the only response…]

Wow, you are in a mood, aren’t you?

Feel free to leave at any time…

So… what exactly are you feeling? Sensing? Anticipating?

[A long pause before answering slowly and reluctantly…] I feel like the walls are closing in…

Explain?

Work posted my job as open, looking for my replacement. All well and good, and a necessary change I’ve been pushing for, in spite of being reluctant to move on… BUT, so far as I can see, they’ve made no move toward clearing out the position I’m supposed to be moving into…

It makes sense, sort of, as the transition should be done slowly (per my request) to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible, with as little disruption to operations as necessary. I mean, obviously I can’t do both jobs (that was the breaking point, after all), and I have to train my replacement. Still… I feel uneasy that the person I’m replacing doesn’t seem to have any clue whatsoever that it’s about to happen…

My daughter is finally in a position to look for a house, BUT her options are severely limited. Any hope of an in-law suite for me is out of the question, meaning best case scenario puts me in the house with them. Not sure I’m up for that; very much a case of jumping from the pan into the fire. And my roommate is already considering potential replacements for me…

Yeah… So it feels a bit like the walls are closing in, and the door to leave this space has not yet been revealed…

So… you’re getting what you want, but not the way you want it?

[A long glance at the Other without any animosity. Curiosity wins out…]

Is that what it is? Could it be that simple?… It feels much heavier than that. It feels like I’ve set myself up to fail again, pushing forward too soon, not insisting on guarantees… Trusting too much again.

Or not trusting enough, maybe?

[A long pause to contemplate…] Yeah, maybe… Just doesn’t really feel that way, but I tend to be biased towards worst case scenarios, as you know…

Are you truly worried?

No. And that’s the weirdest part. I’m certainly not convinced it’s going to play out the way it’s been planned, but I’ve no doubt I’ll weather it ok. And most likely wind up in a better place in the end. Just maybe not where I expect to be, is all…

The Four of Cups messing with you again?

[Genuine laughter responds…] Yeah, maybe that’s all it is!

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Reflections

Ch-ch-ch-changes…

Change is good. Change is necessary. Change is difficult. All true…

But not always, and not necessarily at the same time. The trick is knowing when to change, what to change, how to change, and perhaps most importantly, how to prioritize those changes…

Yeah, I’m Heidi-ing you all! Lol!

(I have a coworker who can speak seriously for several minutes on a topic of some concern to her, and when she’s done, you realize you have absolutely no idea what she was trying to say. Her name is Heidi. And when your name has been adopted as a verb where I work, your immortality is ensured; it’s kind of a back-handed compliment, an acknowledgement of legendary status.)

My problem is that change is upon me, but my brain can’t disentangle one change from another, leaving me feeling frustrated and confused. I had hoped that writing about change would help me sort it out, but I’m not saying anything helpful at all…

I’ve been speaking to change for the past week or so, and while I have accumulated quite a bit of it, I now resent the extra weight in my life. And still, the larger fortunes touch the lives of those around me, though it’s certainly closer to home (including my daughter and my roommate)…

Change is upon me at work, as well, one I’ve been waiting years to see happen. It seems to be progressing slowly now, but only because the need for such change has grown exponentially. And now that it might finally be happening, I’m not sure I want to see it through…

I’m trying to broaden my writing abilities by participating in these challenges. Fun at first, when I wrote like me, but not so much while I’m trying to write differently. The flash fiction challenge (blogbattles) is especially challenging. I have always been an “inspired” writer, meaning I take a simple idea, title or prompt of some sort and start typing to see where it goes. When it’s done, it’s done, except for copyediting to correct spelling and grammar, and perhaps smooth over some rough spots.

But now I have to let the whole story play out before writing a single word, then try to craft what I remember of it into something coherent and smooth. Working backwards from the end is frustrating, and boring, since I already know the whole story. So I’m struggling to maintain my interest in an effort to broaden my skills. I expect it to be difficult because it’s so different, but at what point do you simply give up?

One of the reasons (excuses?) I gave up on ever being published again (by self or other) is that I didn’t want to work that hard at it. Writing has always been my release, my comfort, and one of many paths I’ve found that lead to peace. Is it possible to maintain that love and passion when the effort becomes too strenuous? Can there be both pleasure writing and work writing co-existing in my heart and mind?

Hmm…

I’ve read many blog accounts of writing struggles, of how authors pore over every word, multiple times, tweaking, re-writing, agonizing… They sit with a piece for days or weeks, sometimes years (!) before calling a work finished and publishing it. That’s not me. I’m too lazy for that, especially since I started blogging; it’s far too easy to hit that publish button and be done with it. And while it’s certainly possible to go back later and update it, when I realize another word or approach might improve it, I rarely bother. I mean, if my followers receive my posts by email, then they only see my first published draft anyway. About the only time I make changes after publication is to correct spelling errors, and then, only because I’m too embarrassed to let them stand…

I wasn’t always so lazy about writing, of course, though my style has always been inspired. The difference is the technology. I used to write everything long hand, then make necessary changes when I typed it up. If I wanted a printed copy, more tweaks might occur before pressing that print button. If I then had someone translate it into a PDF type file for easier digital sharing, it would undergo more revisions. The reformatting process itself was the editing that most authors practice automatically. The work wasn’t complete until it was contained in a read only file somewhere…

But not anymore…

Things change. And so have I…

And now that you’ve been Lisa-d (assaulted with too many words of too little value, creating a sense of time wasted in pointless pursuit of nothing), only one question remains:

Do I press that publish button or let this moulder in my draft file with so many other pointless and/or unfinished works…?

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